8:00am Tuesday 8th July 2014
By Dan Robinson
ENGLAND’S World Cup dream might have long withered away but football fever has not died in Oxfordshire.
The competition has now reached the last four and county residents hope their countries could lift the trophy in Brazil.
Brazil and Germany meet tonight in the first semi-final, before Argentina face the Netherlands tomorrow for a place in the final at the Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
Dutchman Wybo Wiersma, 32, is hoping his country can finally lift the trophy for the first time after losing in the final in 1974, 1978 and 2010.
He praised manager Louis Van Gaal for his “brilliant decision” in bringing on substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul before the penalty shootout against Costa Rica in Saturday’s quarter-final victory, as he saved two spot-kicks to send the Netherlands through.
He said: “It was just what was needed at the right time. Van Gaal is one of the main reasons why we’ve done so well and has made a big difference.
“I’m slightly biased but I do expect the Netherlands to get to the final.
“If we play against Brazil it might be possible to win but Germany would be trickier, although that would be the greater victory as there’s a lasting rivalry between the two countries.”
Argentinian Leo Sagor believes fate will help his country reach the final, where his dream would be to beat arch-rivals Brazil on their own turf.
He said: “I’m going to trust the luck of Argentina rather than be rational. It’s been a World Cup of surprises and disappointments, and I think it could all be set for us to win.”
Brazil-born Michael Maia Schlussel, 35, said he is “proud” of his country’s efforts so far but admits it will be more difficult after losing star striker Neymar to injury.
He said: “Neymar is by far our most talented player so of course he will be a great loss, but we are improving as the competition runs.
“Watching our supporters and players singing the anthem has been the best part of the World Cup and shows to the world our pride of being Brazilian.”
Germany fan Ben Schaper, 25, said: “It has been a great World Cup with many goals and surprises.
“Our performance in the quarter-final against Algeria was worrying but if we get back to our regular form we can reach the final.”
What the fans say:
Michael Maia Schlussel
Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS, SPORT and JAYDEN depending on what services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Our top stories
12:56pm Saturday 22nd November 2014
Here's our interactive front page, with links to all the stories, a Prince Charles picture gallery and the latest updated headlines.
11:19am Saturday 22nd November 2014
Callers to the police's non-emergency 101 number are being urged to stay on the line despite problems.
9:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014
Michael Appleton says Oxford United will need to be intelligent if they are to keep heavyweight striker Adebayo Akinfenwa quiet for AFC Wimbledon today.
11:34am Friday 21st November 2014
Six things you may not have known were happening in Oxfordshire this weekend.
8:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014
A state primary school in Long Hanborough has been included in a list of the top schools in the South East.
8:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014
A 70-year-old former teacher has denied historical sexual abuse offences.
© Copyright 2001-2014 Newsquest Media Group